The recent decision by the superintendent of Portland Public Schools to ignore his own snow day policy and make up only two of the five missed days incurred this year prompted the question: Are we getting our money’s worth?

On the surface, there are still 177 school days (above the 175 required by law). However, a closer examination of the actual instructional time allotted to students shows that Portland students will receive almost 39 hours (or eight days) less of instructional time (when all early dismissals are factored in) than the recommended 875 hours of instruction as set forth by the Maine Department of Education.

Looking at several metrics used to measure educational success, it’s pretty clear that this is something our students can’t afford.

According to the just-released Maine DOE scorecards, Portland schools don’t fare very well (“Elementary schools ‘fails’ nearly double in annual Maine grading,” May 16).

On a grading scale of A to F, Portland schools average a C-minus. In fact, two elementary schools received F’s and two others D’s. Interestingly, two of these low-scoring schools are the newest elementary schools in Portland.

Much of these poor grades can be attributed to low test scores. Looking at the New England Common Assessment Program third- and fifth-grade test scores, there has been a five-year decreasing trend.

This year’s scores are below the district’s baseline average of 2011-2013 and are not even close to the district’s own 2013-2014 target goals. (It’s certainly worth questioning whether the district’s higher 2017 goals are even realistic.)

These decreasing trend scores are in direct contrast to the School Board’s annual budget, which has risen almost 15 percent in the last five years. Since student population has remained relatively steady, it begs the question “Are we getting our money’s worth?” – but that’s Part 2 of the discussion.

Dr. Tim Rozan

Portland